Moments after making his way out of the Heat's champagne-soaked locker room early Friday morning, Shane Battier strode through the AmericanAirlines Arena and made his way onto the podium for the traditional post-game press conference. There, the sharp-shooting, 34-year-old veteran didn't even bother to wait for a question. "Reports of my demise were premature," a smiling Battier said after the Heat clinched their second straight NBA title and third overall championship with a 95-88 win over San Antonio in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. "That's my opening statement." Really, his opening statement came earlier, on the court. Because for Battier, the Heat's playoff run has been an exercise in futility, patience, and perseverance. He was benched during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana, and described the experience as a "turd sandwich." He saw his minutes slashed from nearly 25 in the Heat's opening-round sweep of Milwaukee to a little over 12 in the Finals against the Spurs. He shot just 12.5 percent from the field against the Pacers, and finished the postseason shooting a meager 29 percent. All that came after he shot 42 percent during the regular season. But when the stakes were at their highest, Battier made it nearly impossible for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to take him off the floor. He came into Game 7 with 3:45 left in the first quarter and within minutes, converted on a pair of 3-pointers. He finished with 18 points, making a postseason career-high and NBA Finals Game 7 record six shots from beyond the arc. It was Battier's highest-scoring postseason game with the Heat and his highest scoring postseason game since May 2009 when he had 23 with Houston against the Lakers. Suddenly, Battier's struggles disappeared and his performance was reminiscent of Mike Miller's 3-point shooting heroics in last year's Finals against Oklahoma City.
Heat's Battier regains form when stakes at their highest
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Jun 22